Shooting skills day to day

Rating - 100%
20   0   0
Joined
Sep 29, 2011
Messages
1,737
Likes
551
Location
Belmont, NH
I'm a bit frustrated,

I shoot about twice a month, mostly pistols and revolvers of varying calibers, and I've noticed that some days I'm absolutely a crack shot, and other days it's like I haven't picked up a handgun before.

It's frustrating and I have no idea why. Does this happen to anyone else?
 

01906

NES Member
Rating - 100%
7   0   0
Joined
Nov 18, 2016
Messages
555
Likes
452
I used to be like that. Shot about the same twice a month.
Then I started shooting three times a week like it was my job. I think for me A lot of it was muscle memory and not shooting frequently enough. I actually started to impress myself.
That being said I haven't shot in about 2 months, No time this summer. I will Probably go back to sucking again.
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
20   0   0
Joined
Sep 29, 2011
Messages
1,737
Likes
551
Location
Belmont, NH
I used to be like that. Shot about the same twice a month.
Then they started shooting three times a week like it was my job. I think for me A lot of it was muscle memory and not shooting frequently enough. I actually started to impress myself.
That being said I haven't shot in about 2 months, No time this summer. I will Probably go back to sucking again.
You're confirming my fear that it is a diminishing skill if not practiced regularly. Like golf.
 

Roland Deschain

NES Member
Rating - 100%
50   0   0
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
6,613
Likes
5,938
I find that when I'm not at the range consistently, I lose speed, but not accuracy. I feel like accuracy is like riding a bike.
 

Uzi2

NES Member
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
4,839
Likes
5,480
You're confirming my fear that it is a diminishing skill if not practiced regularly. Like golf.
Its been a solidly known fact forever, if you don't shoot enough to get good, then shoot enough to stay good, you'll never become very proficient and or lose what proficiency you acquired.

This is why I shoot regularly, even if its just a few magazines and never load mags on the range. I bring my mags pre loaded so I spend my time shooting, not dicking with empty magazines. It also helps that my pistol range is about twenty steps out my back door and my rifle range is a minute away on the 4wheeler.

Practice as much as you can.....make the time and spend it shooting targets, not shooting the shit on the range.
 

SKumar

NES Member
Rating - 100%
10   0   0
Joined
Jan 19, 2017
Messages
3,233
Likes
3,667
Location
Middlesex
Dry firing is super important. It allows me to fire "unlimited rounds". The hard part is me making sure every shot counts: target acquisition time, double taps, trigger control, etc. I still practice the "dime-on-the-front-sight" drill.

Take a look at the iTarget laser dry firing system. It's a bit tricky to setup, but once you're up, it gives you a pretty damn good experience. I think it's the best "at-home" system to date.
 

Buck F

NES Member
Rating - 100%
6   0   0
Joined
Feb 12, 2015
Messages
1,882
Likes
1,849
Location
SE MA
If you’re going twice a month it’s likely that your mental state varies quite a bit from visit to visit. The good news is that some of the time you’re a crack shot which means you have the ability and skills required to be a crack shot. Executing properly on any given day is probably more about, focus, concentration and mindset than anything.
 
Last edited:

fencer

NES Member
Rating - 100%
9   0   0
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
11,284
Likes
7,535
Location
Southeastern Mass
I find that when I'm not at the range consistently, I lose speed, but not accuracy. I feel like accuracy is like riding a bike.
This. I spent an entire year where I shot almost every day, five days a week. I took a bunch of classes at Sig and AFS and spent some time with some good instructors and shooters.
I try to shoot at least once a week ( it's like seeing a therapist) but sometimes life gets in the way. When I have had some time away from the range I have to be more deliberate and concentrate a bit more. After a few magazines I feel like I hardly even need the sights with some guns.
 

allen-1

NES Member
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
6,738
Likes
7,170
Location
GA; (CT escapee)
I'm a bit frustrated,

I shoot about twice a month, mostly pistols and revolvers of varying calibers, and I've noticed that some days I'm absolutely a crack shot, and other days it's like I haven't picked up a handgun before.

It's frustrating and I have no idea why. Does this happen to anyone else?
Yeah. You don't shoot enough. If you can't get to the range, then practice dryfiring.
 

FiremanBob

NES Member
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
Messages
3,277
Likes
5,542
Daily, 15 minutes of dry-fire practice. Shooting skill is like physical strength -use it or lose it. You can do 95% of what you actually do when shooting, without a single live round.
 

Uzi2

NES Member
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
4,839
Likes
5,480
This. I spent an entire year where I shot almost every day, five days a week. I took a bunch of classes at Sig and AFS and spent some time with some good instructors and shooters.
I try to shoot at least once a week ( it's like seeing a therapist) but sometimes life gets in the way. When I have had some time away from the range I have to be more deliberate and concentrate a bit more. After a few magazines I feel like I hardly even need the sights with some guns.
I've actually been doing some close in point shooting(30ft) not using the sights on man size targets and getting pretty good at it. Focussing on three targets only and doing single round per target then back again.
 

MarkT

NES Member
Rating - 100%
29   0   0
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
4,471
Likes
1,208
Location
Earth
Same here. I have good days and bad days. Practicing more is always good when you can.

I`ve trained regularly (3 -5 days/wk) in martial arts for the past 13 years and when sparring (striking) or rolling (bjj) I also have good days and bad days.

There are many factors that come into play regardless of what you are training for. How much sleep you had, what you've eaten, how stressfull your work or home life is, etc, etc.

One of the best things I learned from one of my martial arts mentors is that it is important to train more for your weaknesses, and where you are most uncomfortable, than for your strenghts. For BJJ I spent many years fighting from my back because that was where I was most uncomfortable, now years later it is a strength for me.

With shooting, every so often, if I have a sleepless night I`ll go to the range and shoot for a while. Those are definately not my best range days, but there is great benefit gained from it because you never know when you may need to use your firearm to defend yourself. Most likely it won't be when your at your peak.

So take the good with the bad, keep training, and know that even the bad days add value to your training.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jul 28, 2016
Messages
265
Likes
263
mostly pistols and revolvers of varying calibers
There is good advice in this thread to shoot more if you can, dry fire if you can't, and make plans to use the training time you do have in effective ways.

But I also want to suggest that the variety of firearms may not be helping. I recommend picking a small number of pistols to focus on for a while. Reducing the variety will help improve muscle memory, and will build consistency, which is the key fundamental of pistolcraft. Some people might say that you should pick one firearm, but that may be overly restrictive. I think most people benefit from practicing with a .22 and a centerfire. So I would suggest focusing on two or possibly three handguns for a while. For example, pick a .22, a small carry gun, and a larger home defense gun.

Some people have good reasons for shooting both revolvers and semi-autos, but if you do not have a compelling reason for both, I suggest picking one for a few months. Build stronger muscle memory in one area, and then come back to doing more things in a few months. I understand this may not be fun, since I personally enjoy both revolvers and semi-autos. But making progress is also fun, and you do that with focus.
 

Fritz the Cat

NES Member
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Aug 11, 2018
Messages
2,578
Likes
3,032
Location
South Berkshire County
I've actually been doing some close in point shooting(30ft) not using the sights on man size targets and getting pretty good at it. Focussing on three targets only and doing single round per target then back again.
I put tape over the sights on my 640 and practiced point shooting every day for months until it was second nature, at about 10 paces. I also practiced shooting while walking backwards and sideways. This was in the 90's and I had read it in an article about defensive shooting in some publication I don't remember authored by someone I can't recall. Massad Ayoob maybe? I do remember the drills because I practiced them for so long.
 

northny

NES Member
Rating - 100%
8   0   0
Joined
Aug 12, 2010
Messages
1,015
Likes
590
Location
Between Cabelas and Harvard Sportsmen’s Club
Just an alternate thought to it’s only lack of practice. I mostly shoot rifle at intermediate to long distance. (300 - 600- 800 yards). But I also found what follows true ( for me) at shorter ranges and with .22 rim fire.

I found three things I need to watch or I can screw up a range session so that I only shoot OK versus shooting well.

First is caffeine. I would often polish off a large coffee on way to range or pound down a coke at the range. Turns out the first 60 or 90 min after a caffeine dose I shoot less well.

Next is diet. I have a poor habit of skipping breakfast or other meals. If I’m dragging my butt because of this I don’t shoot well

Once I figured this out and realized I wasn’t Superman it was simply watching what I drank and made sure I ate something.

Third thing was if I was stressed or distracted or harried by life. I had to be in the moment and put all that aside to shoot well. Easy to say but hard to do. My best solution is a breathing relaxing technique I learned years ago at a Lamaze class. ( and I know admitting that is inviting abuse on NES, but I invoke one of Murphy’s law of combat. If something stupid works, it’s no longer stupid)

I still have occasional Nimrod days at range or in a duck blind, but a lot less than I use to have.
 

Uzi2

NES Member
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
4,839
Likes
5,480
I put tape over the sights on my 640 and practiced point shooting every day for months until it was second nature, at about 10 paces. I also practiced shooting while walking backwards and sideways. This was in the 90's and I had read it in an article about defensive shooting in some publication I don't remember authored by someone I can't recall. Massad Ayoob maybe? I do remember the drills because I practiced them for so long.
Yes, its good to be able to shoot accurately when moving. It makes YOU a harder target to hit and you can find cover or advance on a target if necessary.
 

fencer

NES Member
Rating - 100%
9   0   0
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
11,284
Likes
7,535
Location
Southeastern Mass
I also practiced shooting while walking backwards and sideways.
I think this is a game changer and possibly the biggest benefit to shooting competitively. Many years ago, the Marine Corps taught that, in a gun fight, if you are not moving, you are dyeing. Unless you are in a fortified position, you should be moving, shooting or reloading. Or a combination of the three.
Most shooters never get a chance to train this way because most ranges can not allow you to do this. We go to the range, send a target out to a specific distance, and fire away. On the two way range, standing still is stupid unless you have great cover. And a moving target changes everything.
It is also where magazine capacity and reload drills make the most difference.
And I know the thread is about handguns, but it is also why I still like iron sights on AR's. Yeah, I have cool optics, but if some ass hole is darting across a parking lot shooting at you, good luck maintaining a good sight picture while looking through a tube, if the target is less than 100 yards away. You get in front of the target and walk rounds back into it.
You may be able to punch holes in paper all day. Hitting a moving target is a totally different level of skill and hitting it while you are moving, another level above that
 

BrianWilson

NES Member
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Apr 8, 2007
Messages
1,751
Likes
1,405
Agree with all the above, but also add during live fire I need to recognize early on that I'm not shooting well, then slow down and focus entirely on doing what I need to do to make the one shot that is in front of me. See the sight stay on the target when the gun fires. Clean trigger pull and solid follow thru are often the biggest culprits for me.
For me the best part of shooting is that total concentration, that sensation when there's nothing else except the sight and target.

It's also tough when you're shooting a lot of different guns. Tough to know what's hardware problems as well as technique issues. Different grip, different triggers, etc.etc....etc. The old saying...."Beware the man with one gun, he probably knows how to use it."
 
Last edited:

mac1911

NES Member
Rating - 100%
66   0   0
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
27,174
Likes
4,302
Other than muscle memory
Hydration
Lighting
Are you rested or tired
Caffine?
Routine?
Its all fun.

I only get to practice with my air rifles and still have a hard time finding time.
 

Supermoto

NES Member
Rating - 100%
16   0   0
Joined
Aug 14, 2005
Messages
8,616
Likes
2,651
Location
in 1st Place
I find that when I'm not at the range consistently, I lose speed, but not accuracy. I feel like accuracy is like riding a bike.

You lose speed because you introduce little extra movements especially when you think of speed as the quickest way to get from A to B, not the shortest way. Accuracy is really a mental game. Once you got it, you got it
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jan 10, 2013
Messages
622
Likes
343
Most shooters never get a chance to train this way because most ranges can not allow you to do this. We go to the range, send a target out to a specific distance, and fire away. On the two way range, standing still is stupid unless you have great cover. And a moving target changes everything.
Indeed.

Also shooting in the dark/low light is difficult or impossible to practice yourself. I wish I could just go to the outdoor range at night to try my weapon lights without needing to take a special class.
 

Roland Deschain

NES Member
Rating - 100%
50   0   0
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
6,613
Likes
5,938
You lose speed because you introduce little extra movements especially when you think of speed as the quickest way to get from A to B, not the shortest way. Accuracy is really a mental game. Once you got it, you got it
Agreed. I should have said efficient vs speed
 

smokey-seven

NES Member
Rating - 100%
2   0   0
Joined
May 3, 2010
Messages
4,725
Likes
3,002
Location
North Shore
good luck maintaining a good sight picture while looking through a tube
Amen! 50+ years of deer hunting and unless I am sitting for all day at a 100-200 yard shot, it's irons for me. My last 4 deer were running and iron sights took them through the heart. Peep rear, post and fork front. Standard military. You never saw scopes on M16s. Iron sights and pink smoke.
 

fencer

NES Member
Rating - 100%
9   0   0
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Messages
11,284
Likes
7,535
Location
Southeastern Mass
Indeed.

Also shooting in the dark/low light is difficult or impossible to practice yourself. I wish I could just go to the outdoor range at night to try my weapon lights without needing to take a special class.
Actually, my club's indoor range allows you to dim the lights, and is often deserted at odd hours. Lets just say, depending on what you are shooting, muzzle flash is a thing.

Also. Watch More Jerry M.
He really is a rare talent. He obviously shoots a lot and those big mitts help, but some guys are just natural shooters and he is one of them.

You never saw scopes on M16s
The recruits have ACOGs now. I hope I didn't ruin your dinner. [puke][puke]

I learned long ago that handgun shooting is all mental. The mechanics of shooting is the easy part. Stance, grip, sight alignment, trigger press, follow through are all pretty easy to learn, and with practice, become second nature.
Firing a handgun is basically setting off an explosion about two feet from your face. Human brains are hardwired to move away from and flinch when that happens. It is an involuntary, reflexive response to the concussion, sound and recoil of the cartridge going off.
The first step is acknowledging that it is involuntary, and working to control it. Then you can really focus on the mechanics and you start to become very consistent.
Shooting is all in your head.
 

Al-Jim19

NES Member
Rating - 100%
12   0   0
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Messages
2,413
Likes
794
Take my advice for what it’s worth, as my frequency shooting has diminished a lot over the last 12 months.

Two summers ago, I put a lot of rounds down range. Usually hit the range 3-5x per week, almost exclusively shot the two pistols I carried, and practiced a handful of skills that I thought were both important and fun. I would start each range session by loading two magazines with 3-5 rounds each. I’d draw from concealment and shoot the first magazine until it was empty, do a speed reload and shoot the next magazine dry.

Basically that drill would inform my practice for the session. If my draw was crappy, I do a lot of stuff where I would draw and fire one shot, then repeat as necessary. Sometimes my reload sucked so I’d shoot one, reload, and shoot another.

After that I’d add a second tartget and do some target transitions. Each range visit would conclude with a few shots weak handed and 10-20 shots slow fire where I would try to focus on fundamentals.

The above would usually get done in only 100-200 rounds, but I tried to target specific skills, and it worked pretty well despite the rather low round count. Most of the drills required only 1-5 rounds per magazine.

I’m rusty now, but by the end of that summer I was really happy with what I’d been able to accomplish.
 
Top Bottom